Ottawa residents will see their hydro bill increase by about 2.4 per cent this spring.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approved Hydro Ottawa’s distribution rates on March 16, which included a monthly increase of 54 cents per household to cover the cost of the province’s Smart Meter project.
Smart Meters make people more aware of their energy consumption by monitoring and recording electricity use at different times of the day. The province is encouraging conservation at the same time that it expands energy infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population — conservation will help keep costs down, according to Hydro Ottawa, while curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
The goal is to eventually impose time-of-use rates, encouraging customers to cut back on their power use during peak hours.
Despite the minor cost increase, Hydro Ottawa remains one of the most efficient electricity distributors in Ontario, according to the OEB, with operating, maintenance and administration costs lower than the provincial average.
“Our objective is to provide service as efficiently as possible, while ensuring that Ottawa's electricity system is in excellent shape for the future,” said Rosemarie Leclair, president and CEO of the Hydro Ottawa Group of Companies. “We're very pleased that we have been able to continue this record of efficient and reliable service over the past year, once again keeping our rate increase to a minimum.”
Hydro Ottawa has been replacing electricity meters with Smart Meters since 2006 and boasts one of the largest deployment rates in the province.
More than 262,000 Smart Meters have already been installed in Ottawa.
Every home in Ontario is expected to have a Smart Meter by Dec. 31, 2010.